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Messages - Elizabeth

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The Imperial Family / Re: Romanovs and Faith/Orthodox Religion
« on: May 17, 2005, 01:50:36 PM »
Greetings, Dasha!
Voistinu Voskresii!  Hope you had a beautiful and blessed Pascha (is it your FIRST?).  

Don't worry about "remembering" everything - my Fr. Confessor has told me that I will "keep learning" things about Orthodoxy for the rest of my life!   :)

Oh, some other things I forgot to say earlier (for the rest of you . . .) ;D

Orthodox make the sign of the cross from right to left (unlike Roman Catholics, who make it left to right) -- so you touch your forehead, touch your chest, touch your right shoulder, touch your left.

There's no holy water font when you enter an Orthodox church (again, unlike Roman Catholics -- do they still have those)?  There's an icon on a stand when you enter, you make the sign of the cross, and venerate (or kiss) the icon (if you don't feel comfortable doing this, just bow from the waist before the icon).  The icon in our church usually shows the feast we are celebrating (right now, it's the Resurrection!).

Also, when you enter an Orthodox Church and sit down, you don't genuflect (again, like Roman Catholics) -- go down on one knee.  Just go to a seat and do what everyone else does (that's the BEST way!).

Also, during this past Lent (the season leading up to Easter), we FASTED every day -- no meat, no dairy -- until Easter.

MAJOR difference between Orthodox and Roman Catholics -- Orthodox do not believe in the infallibility of the Pope (meaning, that we think he's a good man, but NOT that he's perfect when it comes to his teachings -- the CHURCH is perfect, not a human being).  

Also, there are some other issues that are REALLY deep, theological arguments.

I'll keep thinking of things (STOP me if you anyone gets bored!).  


Just finished reading all the posts from the Cincinnati exhibit (poor Laura!).  I had posted earlier asking about "religious items" since my Orthodox Church choir was going, and there was a beautiful response from Kay (thank you!).

It was amazing to find out afterwards that some of my fellow church members went through the entire exhibit in less than ONE hour!  I stayed for TWO, and still didn't feel like I saw everything -- so I went back a few weeks later with my Mom and it was even better the second time around.

The "Dream of the Mother of God" that Kay mentioned (that hung in Alexandra's mauve room) was magnificent!  It took up a huge space on one wall and was hung so you were practically "eye-level" with it.  (If it hadn't been so big, I would have tried to sneak it out -- ha!).

Yes, there were a number of other religious items BUT the things that took MY breath away (and reduced me to tears) were their personal items -- Tatiana's Husser's uniform, the girls' porcelain doll, Nicholas's uniform (the size of the tunic made you realize that he was not a very big man!).  

I was DISAPPOINTED in the glass cases (that contained the reproduction of some of the IF's rooms) because only ONE book was available that identified each of the items.  The lighting was low, and it was hard to read (and if there was a crowd, you had to wait for a turn).  I would hope in future exhibits that they identify the items via signs posted on the walls or glass case (like they did in some of the other settings).

Yes, the gift shop was VERY disappointing.  When I first went in late March, there was a HUGE selection of books, but when I went back in mid-April, they had sold out of most of the books and just had all the knick-knacks (scarfs, porcelain items, dolls, etc.).  

For those who DIDN'T get to attend, you might want to try calling the Cincinnati Museum and see if they have any additional souvenir books (it's worth a shot).  


The Imperial Family / Re: Romanovs and Faith/Orthodox Religion
« on: May 17, 2005, 01:16:12 PM »
I had to "jump in" here, since I'm Orthodox, and thought I'd join the discussion.  (I've already visited the other thread on Orthodoxy, but I think RealAnastasia wants to know the "basic" differences, not a major theological discussion -- am I right?).

I converted to Orthodoxy over 10 years ago, having been a Roman Catholic for all of my life (25+ years).  I think studying the IF helped me know that there was such a thing as the "Orthodox Church," but it was through a series of fortunate events that I became a member of the faith (too long of a story to tell here!).

Anyway, the first thing to remember when introducing yourself in an Orthodox Church, is to say that you are an "Orthodox Christian."  If you say you're "Russian Orthodox," "Greek Orthodox," etc., those who are "cradle Orthodox" (born into the Church) will look at you like you have TWO heads!  Basically, it's ALL the same church -- the only difference is the LANGUAGE.  (My church is the "Antiochian Orthodox Church" -- originally from Antioch, Syria where St. Peter was their first Bishop).  I've been to RUSSIAN and GREEK churches when I travel, and the Liturgy is IDENTICAL to mine, except for the language (Greek or Russian, but mostly English).

Dasha gave a LOT of great information!  We just finished celebrating Easter on May 1 - the week before was Holy Week (with services each evening -- more beautiful than the one before!).  Orthodox Christians greet each other at Easter (and after!) with "Christ Is Risen!  Indeed He Is Risen!"  (I could say this in Russian, but don't have the Russian alphabet on my computer -- let me know if anyone wants it phonetically).

Yes, Orthodox priests can marry (before their ordination), and those who don't usually go on to either serve in monastic communities or take leadership positions (Archanmandrite, Bishop, Archbishop, etc.) in the Church.  My priest is married and has two lovely teenage children.

The Divine Liturgy is held every Sunday morning (no Saturday evening masses like the Catholics or others, although we do have Vespers on Saturday, which is actually the "start" of the liturgical cycle).  We only have ONE Sunday service (so everyone can celebrate together).

The Divine Liturgy was written by St. John Chrysostom (Bishop of Constantiople), so it's ENTIRELY different than the Roman Catholic mass.  99% of the prayers are sung (either by the Priest, Deacon or Choir, along with congregation), and there is no piano or organ (some Orthodox churches DO have an organ - our's does not -- all acapella).

Um, what else . . .?  
We celebrate X-mas at the same time as everyone else.  Our greeting at X-mas is "Christ is Born! Glorify Him!"

We have all the same sacraments as in the Roman Catholic Church -- baptism, communion, confession, confirmation (called "Chrismation"), marriage, holy unction ("Last Rites" in the Catholic Church) -- I think I left something out.  

When a child is baptised, he also receives his First Communion and Confirmation ("Chrismation").  Unlike Catholics whose children don't get to have their First Communion until they are 7-8 years old, Orthodox babies can receive Communion beginning at their Baptism.

I would urge anyone who lives near an Orthodox Church to go and visit.  All of the Orthodox web sites in the US have search engines that allow you to type in your city, state or zip code and are able to tell you the closest church.  THEN, it would be great if you "report back" and tell us your thoughts, impressions, etc.

Here are some web sites in the US.  The majority of these churches have services in English AND the native language.

Greek Archdiocese:

Orthodox Church of America (Mainly Russian):

Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese:

P.S.  I invited a friend of mine to attend Divine Liturgy a few months ago.  Later, he thought it was "nice, but long" (about 1 1/2 hours, but that's with over 500 people going to communion!).  Don't let that scare you off!

The Alexander Palace / Re: CINCINNATI Exhibition: At Home with the Last T
« on: February 23, 2005, 10:11:09 AM »
A group from my church -- Russian Orthodox -- is taking a trip to Cincinnati in the next few weeks to see the exhibit.

For those who have seen it, are there a lot of religious items (icons, etc.), or is it mainly the family's personal things.  I'm concerned that a number of people in our group are going to see "the icons," while not realizing that it's about the IF, and not about Orthodoxy.


The Alexander Palace / Re: Trip to Alexander Palace?
« on: January 04, 2005, 03:02:21 PM »
I would LOVE to go to TS/St. Pete (esp. since I started this thread), but going in September is an awfully quick "turnaround" time to get things going.  For those of us in school, that would require taking off class for the first few weeks.  For those of us that work full-time (in addition to school!), it would require us requesting the time off NOW (which means having an exact date).  

I could definitely afford  it-- and do something like this NEXT year, but only 9 months away is pushing it.  

Sorry! :-[

It's interesting, Colleen, that you mentioned "Dr. Zhivago" on this N&A thread.

I recently read a book about Sam Spiegel and his production of N&A.  It seems that he wanted to do "Dr. Zhivago" all along, but that David Lean/Carlo Ponti beat him to it, and so he wanted to do "something" Russian to "outdo" Zhivago (it just took him awhile to find it since Massie's book didn't come out until 1967).  Since Zhivago was about two lovers during the Russian Revolution, Spiegel told people that it would be the same with his movie -- N&A.

The writer of the Spiegel book thought the movie wasn't as successful as it COULD have been since the "big" movie BLOCKBUSTERS that Lean had made so famous in the 50's and 60's (Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago) were not "in fashion" by the early 1970s.  People no longer wanted to see a "costume epic," and if you remember, shortly after N&A came out, the big budget DISASTER movies started (Poseiden Adventure, Earthquake, etc.).

Yes, the movie N&A was my first introduction to Russian history and it changed my life.  But looking at it 30+ years later, I tend to fault it too much -- their early lives are completely ignored, historical sequences are out of order (Stolypin had already been dead by two years when the 300th anniversary took place), the cookie-cutter OTMAs, and the scenes of them CONSTANTLY walking down that long hallway (N&A go to Mama's b-day party, N&A come home from reviewing the troops, N comes home from the war).   :P  

Just my two cents worth . . .


Hi, Elisa --

Do you know where else this video is available?  I knew there was a video of her through St. Vladimir Seminary Press awhile back, but it was all in Russian (no subtitles).  


Thanks for the info, Abby.

Do they say anything ABOUT the Coronation Egg?  Like, "This is the egg created by Peter Carl Faberge in honor of the coronation of Russia's Last Tsar"?   ::)

The Alexander Palace / Re: Virtual Tour of the Alexander Palace -- SIMS
« on: December 31, 2004, 10:05:34 PM »
Thanks, nerdycool, for the link to your photobucket site.

I have to catch my breath when I see colorized versions of the rooms and the family (even if it is not 100% accurate).  It gives breath and life to everything and puts "real" faces and places behind the B&W pics.  

On sort of a different topic (but same mindset), the first time I saw a colored portrait of Nicholas was in St. Petersburg (Florida!) last year at an exhibition at the Florida International Museum.  Will have to "dig up" my catalog, but it was life-sized -- the one with him standing in his military (corporal's) uniform (I believe it was painted shortly after his coronation).  Anyway, it gave me the chills because I had always seen him in B&W (and of course knowing the history of everything that would happen later).  He looked very handsome -- and innocent.  

The Alexander Palace / Re: Trip to Alexander Palace?
« on: December 31, 2004, 09:51:52 PM »
Wow!  I didn't realize that this topic would get such a great response.  When do we leave?   ;)

Seriously, in answer to Bob's earlier post, I would have to place a vote for Tsarskoe Selo/Petersburg (could that include Pavlovsk & Peterhof since they're nearby?).  

If Moscow and the Crimea are options, that would be great too, but I would think something would have to be "left out" (due to the distances involved), and that would mean not being able to go to Tobolsk & Ekaterinburg.  (Unless we go North/South/East/West/South -- Petersburg/Moscow/Tobolsk/Ekat/Crimea -- and then fly back to the US out of the Crimea.  

I would definitely love to go to Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg, but what are the logistics of getting there and, I guess, the most affordable for all of us (i.e., plane or train?).  I never pictured Tobolsk as having either of these, but then, of course, I haven't followed anything about the city since the spring of 1917.   And I wouldn't have ANY problem hiking over the Russian tiaga -- in fact, you might have a hard time of pulling me away from there.   ;)

Regarding facilities:  I'm not really into anything fancy (as long as it has a mattress and running water).  Bob, I know you mentioned something earlier about a monastery, and I've stayed in them in the US -- and had friends stay in them overseas -- in the past.  You don't get "room service" OR an opulent lobby, but the TLC that is given out vastly exceeds anything from a five-star hotel, in my humble opinion.  

As far as "meeting" somewhere (I think that was in an earlier post), wouldn't a major international airport in the USA be best -- i.e., Chicago/NYC/Atlanta -- that would take us directly over there together (and, if it had a layover in Europe, then pick up any others there)?  

Also, would it be cheaper to fly into, say, Finland, and take the train over the border into Petersburg than flying into Russia itself (just an idea)?

Bob, are you in touch with Suzanne Massie at all?  I've seen that her name periodically appears on trips from one of the travel agencies that I used to receive info. from (but VERY expensive).  Not so much her being our guide -- YOU would be our greatest font of info. -- but for some travel/price ideas.

I can also touch base with my priest's father-in-law (can you tell I'm Orthodox).  Fr. John and his wife came back from Russia a few months ago, and I could see what their travel arrangements were (they are elderly so it was not a lengthy trip).  Among their other stops, they visited the Ss. Martha & Mary Convent in Moscow (yes, that's ANOTHER place I would like to visit).  

Saving my pennies as I type . ..


Balkan Royal Families / Re: Princess Ileana of Romania,her life and family
« on: December 30, 2004, 02:09:31 PM »
I posted in the wrong thread earlier about Mother Alexandra (thanks to Janet W. for steering me in the right direction!).

I'll PM you, AbbessNiece, on your article.  I stayed for a weekend in Ellwood City a few years ago and love your aunt -- and the other sisters -- dearly (yes, I'm Orthodox too).  I, unfortunately, didn't get time to send them a Nativity card this year like I usually do.  Hope they are all well.

Also, when I was last there, there was about a foot of snow on the ground, so I didn't get to visit Mother Alexandra's grave (or even see the cemetery).  Is it near the guest houses or closer to the main buildings?

For those who haven't seen a picture, you can go to and search under Holy Transfiguration Monastery (Ellwood City, PA).  It's truly heaven on earth there!

Yes, Ilana, that's the ending I remember as well (you can tell I haven't read it in awhile).  To add to that, someone is reporting about their "findings" of the missing Empress & GD to Stalin (of all people), and when he finds out, Stalin laughs and laughs (who would have thought Stalin had a sense of humor).

Another thing I sort of remember is that the author really "harps" on the Sergei/Elizabeth marriage a lot, to the point of describing their marital life and Sergei's "problems."  Enough said, but when I read it, it came off as the author having more ISSUES than GD Serge!

The Final Chapter / Re: What did other Royals?
« on: December 30, 2004, 01:31:56 PM »
I'm SURE this is the wrong thread, but this is the closest I came to a mention about Queen Marie of Romania.

A few years ago I visited the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, and read that the abbess who founded it ("Mother Alexandra") was formerly Princess Ileana of Romania.  I would assume this was Queen Marie daughter?  She died a number of years ago, but the monastery is still operating (and the sisters are wonderful).

Another piece of trivia -- there are some very small "relics" of several Orthodox saints in their chapel, including Saint Elizabeth the New Russian Martyr (ie Ella).

The Alexander Palace / Re: Virtual Tour of the Alexander Palace -- SIMS
« on: December 30, 2004, 01:15:41 PM »
I just accessed the link -- thanks, Luke -- but it makes the rooms looks teeny, tiny.  Is it just the way they laid it out on the computer (not being a Sims fan, I'm sort of ignorant abou those things) or are the rooms really like that?  

I know it's not accurate -- for accuracy's sake -- but my computer makes it look like each room is the size of a walk-in closet.

The Alexander Palace / Re: Trip to Alexander Palace?
« on: December 30, 2004, 11:55:25 AM »
Oh, I'm sure the cost is VERY prohibitive, but if we had a year (or even two) advanced notice, than that might be an option.   :P

Also, there are a number of Orthodox Churches in the United States that regularly organize trips to Russia, esp. the Orthodox Church of America (  Maybe something could be "incorporated" with one of them.   :D

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